Posts Tagged ‘Discrimination’

In 2007 Britain marked 200 years since the British Parliament passed the bill to abolish the Slave Trade, or what is otherwise known as the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act. As I was involved in marking this event, in particular throughout Scotland, I sought to inform myself about this issue. In addition to reading about the Slave Trade and the Scottish involvement with it (my friend Iain Whyte published his book just in time) I also sought to find out if there were any significant local links (where I live) with the slave trade. Well I did find that there were two buildings which were built with money from the salve trade, one of them is in Blackburn (Blackburn House) and the other one in Bathgate (Bathgate Academy).

I have also learned that Christians found themselves on both side of the argument in regards to slave trade and slavery: it is now clear that Christians played a very significant role in the abolition of the slave trade and slavery itself, but there were other Christians who sought to defend the slave trade and slavery (it took another 26 years before slavery was outlawed in the UK).

John Lampard a retired Methodist minister wrote an article in 2007 showing how Christians in particular in the American South argued for slavery on the basis of the bible. Lampard shows how Revd Thornton Stringfellow, a Baptist pastor born in 1788 and Ordained in 1814 argued that slavery was undoubtedly biblical. I recommend his article which can be downloaded from here (the Set all Free website).

More information about Slavery in Scotland can be found on Scotland and Slavery website which I helped create while working for ACTS, which is still hosted by them.

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This coming Sunday many churches in the UK will mark the Racial Justice Sunday, when we reflect on how our prejudices sometimes cause distress and pain to those that are different than us. I feel that too many churches don’t take this issue seriously enough. Minority ethnic people still face prejudice and discrimination, and many of them experience these in our churches. You can download resources for Racial Justice Sunday for free from CTBI (Churches Together in Britain and Ireland) website. (Just to say that I was part of the team that prepared this year’s resources, so you better use them!)

On a related issue: I wrote a post a while ago suggesting that a community radio station in Glasgow, radio Awaz, actively discriminates against Christians in Glasgow. The Sunday Times at the weekend published short article saying that Mahboob is calling for the cut in public funding on this radio station and he is now going to take his case to the European Parliament. I still think that Asian Christians (in particular those from Pakistan and Iran) suffer double discrimination in this country. This case though brings to the fore a religious dimension which complicates the issue.

I find it though puzzling that sometimes people who are discriminated against find it very easy to exclude and marginalise others.

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For a number of years now I have been working with minority ethnic Christians in Scotland. I have heard personal testimonies of Christians who felt marginalised in their churches because of their ethnic background.

However I feel that the Asian Christians, and in particular those coming from Pakistan and other Muslim countries are among those that feel the most marginalised by both, the society and Churches.

Last year Rev Mahboob Masih a minister in the Church of Scotland, but originally from Pakistan, was suspended by a community Radio Station in Glasgow, Awaz Radio, for not apologising to Muslims! The details of this story you can find in the Sunday Telegraph, the Monday edition of the Herald, or on this blog.

In 2005 I met Mahboob while he was working for Queen’s Park Baptist Church in Glasgow and was studying at ICC (International Christian College) in Glasgow. He came to see me to ask for help in supporting the Asian Christian community in Glasgow, as the Awaz radio was discriminating against them. At that time Awaz community Radio station, which received at that time the bulk of its funding from tax payers, had given the Asian Christians an hour slot per week, at a very inconvenient time (I think Saturday 7 am), while the Muslims had their slot during Friday. (Even now if you look at their programme they have a Sunday programme for Sikhs from 6 am to 11am – no that I have anything against the Sikh community! Christians are having a more civilised slot on Saturday from 9am to 10 am. I find it bonkers how the management of this radio station – which I am told has no Christian representation – allocates impartially the programme slots and timing for each religion!)

I have tried to involve the local churches in supporting their brothers and sisters, but unfortunately the people in this country are not aware the subtle cultural manoeuvres of Asian management of Awaz. They said one thing to my friend from Glasgow Churches but acted in a duplicitous way! I wonder when will the Glasgow City Council have the guts to require these organisations that they fund and are community based and run by ‘ethnic minorities’ (as Awaz radio) to subscribe to the same equality laws as any other public body? As one who has worked in equality for many years I am fed up by these double standards!!!!!

I can understand how Asian Christians feel double discriminated here in Britain, and in particular now when the politicians and some quangos sucker a particular religion!

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